Organic Foods: Worth the Cost?

A standard that defines what qualifies as organic was established by the Organic Foods Production Act in 1990, because there was a lot of confusion.  It means food with no artificial fertilizers (the ones made with sewage sludge), genetic modification, irradiation (a process that reduces spoilage and kills bacteria and pests), or conventional pesticides.  Livestock raised organically must be fed organic feed, can't be given antibiotics or growth hormones, and have access to the outdoors, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
What does "organic" really mean? A standard that defines what qualifies as organic was established by the Organic Foods Production Act in 1990, because there was a lot of confusion. It means food with no artificial fertilizers (the ones made with sewage sludge), genetic modification, irradiation (a process that reduces spoilage and kills bacteria and pests), or conventional pesticides. Livestock raised organically must be fed organic feed, can't be given antibiotics or growth hormones, and have access to the outdoors, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Eating organic foods can reduce the amount of pesticides and chemicals that non-organic foods may get into your body. You are also reducing your exposure to antibiotics, genetically modified crops, hormones, and irradiated foods. Still, the long-term health effects aren't clear.
What are the benefits for buying food labeled "organic"? Eating organic foods can reduce the amount of pesticides and chemicals that non-organic foods may get into your body. You are also reducing your exposure to antibiotics, genetically modified crops, hormones, and irradiated foods. Still, the long-term health effects aren't clear.
Organic fruits and vegetables can cost up to about 30 percent more than regular produce. One reason is that organic farms are usually smaller than conventional farms, yielding less even as demand for their crops is high. Controlling pests and weeds without using artificial pesticides is more labor-intensive, harder, and more expensive than using most pesticides. Also, organic feed for livestock is more expensive.
So why exactly do "organic" foods so much more? Organic fruits and vegetables can cost up to about 30 percent more than regular produce. One reason is that organic farms are usually smaller than conventional farms, yielding less even as demand for their crops is high. Controlling pests and weeds without using artificial pesticides is more labor-intensive, harder, and more expensive than using most pesticides. Also, organic feed for livestock is more expensive.
(Getty Images)
"Natural" vs. "Organic": What's the difference? (Getty Images)
The USDA doesn't officially offer any opinion about whether organic food is safer or more nutritious than non-organic food. It only says that organic standards have been met. This includes the companies that handle or process the foods before they get to the supermarket. That said, organic foods have lower levels of artificial pesticides, are not genetically modified, don't have artificial hormones, and reduce your exposure to antibiotics. On the other hand, the EPA regulates pesticides in foods. Strict standards must be met.  As for being healthier, some studies have found that organically grown oranges have more vitamin C and possibly iron and magnesium. Organic milk has been found to have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. More research needs to be done on this. One thing to keep in mind is that organicpotato chips are still junk food. Being organic doesn't mean you can load up on them.
Does being "organic" mean the food is safer and healthier? The USDA doesn't officially offer any opinion about whether organic food is safer or more nutritious than non-organic food. It only says that organic standards have been met. This includes the companies that handle or process the foods before they get to the supermarket. That said, organic foods have lower levels of artificial pesticides, are not genetically modified, don't have artificial hormones, and reduce your exposure to antibiotics. On the other hand, the EPA regulates pesticides in foods. Strict standards must be met. As for being healthier, some studies have found that organically grown oranges have more vitamin C and possibly iron and magnesium. Organic milk has been found to have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids. More research needs to be done on this. One thing to keep in mind is that organicpotato chips are still junk food. Being organic doesn't mean you can load up on them.
It is better to buy it locally, because nutrients start getting depleted in food as soon as it's harvested. The further organic food has to be transported, the more nutrients that are lost.
Is it really that important to buy foods closer to where they originate? It is better to buy it locally, because nutrients start getting depleted in food as soon as it's harvested. The further organic food has to be transported, the more nutrients that are lost.

Latest Galleries

Los Angeles Lakers 2016 Media Day
Los Angeles Clippers 2016 Media Day
Dodgers Celebrate Winning The N.L. West
Rams 37, Buccaneers 32
Vin Scully Candid Moments
2016 Celebrity DeathsA photo gallery of famous personalities the world bid farewell to in 2016.
68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards
2016 Emmys Red Carpet Arrivals

One Comment

  1. Susan says:

    Luci Organics is a delivery service providing seasonal,locally grown,100% certified organic produce to your doorstep by 6 a.m. Serving Los Angeles and Orange County.

    http://www.luciorganics.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS Los Angeles

KNX 1070 Newsradio
Play.It
Follow Us On Twitter

Listen Live